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I’m leaving and Dad’s in tears

Moving out can be hard on parents, says our elder. But don’t let your dad’s emotions hold you hostage.

Dear EWC:

I recently told my family that I wanted to move out and into a house that my grandparents have left for me, I told them that my decision has nothing to do with them. It’s simply that I want to pursue photography and I feel that to do so I need to really put myself out there. Everyone was baffled and felt that it came out of nowhere but they seemed to handle it well. That is everyone except for my father, who’s been crying and pleading for me not to go since I told him.This was a shock to me because I had never seen him cry before!

Now he doesn’t want me to go and he says he’s not forcing me to stay, but every day he asks me to reconsider. He tries to bribe me telling me that he can send me for a couple of weeks and come back, but I don’t know how else to tell him that’s not what I want.
I’m 24 years old and at some point, I will have to move out of my parent’s house. The longer I wait, the longer I won’t be doing anything that will help me grow as a human and better my future. It’s too much pressure and pain for us both. It makes me want to give in and not go, even though I really do want to. Any advice on how to help him accept it will be helpful. I am confused and mentally drained.

GrannyJ replies:

After reading your letter, I felt bad for your dad and you. Being gifted a house by your grandparents is a wonderful opportunity not many young people receive and at the age of 24, you certainly should be able to live on your own. You are young and relatively unfettered right now, so this is a great time to pursue your dream of being a photographer. However, you will have to figure out the best way to proceed, in light of your dad’s opposition.

I am always reminded of something my daughter told me when she was 21 and still living at home. She had gone out with an older (24) guy who was in the Navy and was past curfew getting home. When I scolded her, she told me “Mom, there are women my age who are married, have children and their own homes”. That was an eye-opener for me. We, parents, have trouble realizing our little boys and girls have become adults, capable of living on their own. There is a big gaping hole left in a parent’s heart when a child leaves home.

I suggest offering a compromise if it’s feasible. I don’t know how far your grandparents’ house is from your current home, so I hope distance isn’t a barrier, but I suggest going to the new house for short visits then go to your parents’ in between. Do this for a little while and see how your dad reacts. You might also consider inviting your parents to go with you on one of your stays there. Your dad will still be sad, but this might help him adjust better. Present this plan to him positively and encouragingly, and you might even consider including him in some of the planning. Be sure to acknowledge to your dad that you know your moving out will be hard for him, but remind him you are 24, and you have to make this big move eventually.

But In all truthfulness, you can’t be held hostage by your father’s emotions. His sadness and depression are not for you to try and figure out. I suggest taking privately with your mother and tell her you are concerned about your father’s extreme reaction to your plans. I am suggesting this because there is always the possibility your dad may need to see a medical professional if his sadness and depression continue, or get worse.
I hope my advice will be helpful to you. Please feel free to write again if you need more advice. I wish you all the best, and I hope your plans work out. Take care and good luck!

Family
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